East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, February 09, 2017, Image 1

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with your
141st Year, No. 83
One dollar
New ed head effect unknown
Local officials more concerned with $1.8B state budget gap
East Oregonian
AP Photo/Molly Riley
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos addresses Education
Department staff, Wednesday, at the Education Department
in Washington.
Besides the man who nominated
her, no current political fi gure has been
quite as divisive as U.S. education
secretary Betsy DeVos.
Nominated for a position that rarely
struggles to gather bipartisan support,
the billionaire political donor from
Michigan spurred backlash strong
enough to cause a rare 50-50 split in the
Senate’s confi rmation vote, requiring
the vote of Vice President Mike Pence
to break the tie.
While the controversy surrounding
DeVos is well established, how her
policy positions will affect schools in
Eastern Oregon is less clear.
Before she was nominated,
DeVos was a fi erce proponent of the
expansion and deregulation of charter
schools. Her views seem to mesh well Mulvihill
with President Donald Trump’s plan
to create a $20 billion school voucher said the topic of DeVos’ confi rmation
program that would allow low-income came up during a meeting with other
students to use a voucher at the public, Eastern Oregon school district superin-
private or charter school of their choice. tendents on Wednesday.
InterMountain Education Service
District superintendent Mark Mulvihill
point of
East Oregonian
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s
Offi ce program to work out dispatch
center issues behind closed doors has
generated pushback from a couple of
west-side police departments.
In 2016, the sheriff’s offi ce invited
all 24 agencies that use the dispatch
center to join a liaison program to sort
out any problems. A police department,
for example, would designate a sergeant
to discuss issues with a dispatch admin-
istrator and 9-1-1 call center. So far,
the Pendleton Police Department and
Umatilla County Fire District 1 are the
only participants.
Undersheriff Jim Littlefi eld at a
recent meeting called out agencies for
the lack of involvement.
Two police chiefs said there are good
reasons why they don’t use the program.
Jason Edmiston, chief of Hermiston
police, said his department rarely has
complaints about dispatch. But more to
the point, he and Sheriff Terry Rowan
agreed some time back to discuss issues
with each other and not through their
“I plan on continuing to honor that,”
Edmiston said. “We’re 30 minutes
away. I really don’t need our people
traveling — yet again — to a meeting
in Pendleton.”
He also said he wants the sheriff’s
dispatch supervisors to be at the dispatch
center supervising, not jumping from
meeting to meeting.
Umatilla Police Chief Darla Huxel
has been leading the push for agencies
paying for dispatch services to have
more say in how the center operates.
EO fi le photo
A herd a deer forage for food in a thicket of snow-covered trees west of Meacham in 2015.
Winter wearing on wildlife
ODFW expects
increased mortality
due to weather
East Oregonian
EO File photo
A doe and a pair of fawns walk across a snow-covered
stubble fi eld outside Mission.
Along with repeatedly closing
highways, schools and government
offi ces across Eastern Oregon, this
year’s harsh winter is expected to
take its toll on local deer and elk
The Oregon Department of
Fish & Wildlife is anticipating
increased overwinter mortality
when conducting big game surveys
later this spring. Two areas of
particular concern are Baker County
and northern Malheur County,
according to Michelle Dennehy,
ODFW spokeswoman.
“Some die-off is normal, but
we’ll probably see increased
mortality in some areas,” Dennehy
said. “We’re not going to be able to
have the full picture until we do our
Scott Torland, acting district
wildlife biologist for ODFW in
Ontario, said they are getting
multiple reports a day of dead deer.
The biggest issue, he said, are deer
and antelope that make their way
Cities push reforms to increase property tax revenues
Want to change how
taxes are calculated,
remove limits on rates
Capital Bureau
SALEM — As legislators set to
work on balancing the state’s budget,
some lawmakers and lobbyists are
considering property tax reform to
benefi t local government budgets.
In particular, supporters want to
change how property taxes are calcu-
lated, and remove limits on tax rates.
Two ballot measures approved by
voters in the 1990s, Measure 5 and
Measure 50, limited the amount of
property taxes Oregonians pay, and
annual tax increases.
Measure 5, passed in 1990,
limited the total tax rates levied by all
local taxing bodies to no more than
$15 per $1,000 of assessed property
value — up to $5 for education, and
$10 for other local taxing bodies.
Measure 50, passed in 1997,
decoupled a property’s assessed
valuation, the amount on which it
is taxed, from real market value,
according to the Oregon Department
of Revenue, and put limits on how
much a property’s assessed value
could increase from year to year.
The state’s cities advocate a
“transition” back to real market
value-based calculations and for
permitting local voters to approve
rates exceeding the limits established
by Measure 5.
Without a reduction in tax rates,
the proposal would lead to higher
property taxes. According to the
League of Oregon Cities, there is a
state average of a 25 percent differ-
ence between the real market value
of property and its assessed value.
The Legislature is also looking
at a homestead exemption, which
could cushion homeowners from
sudden tax leaps on their primary
Cities contend Measures 5 and
50 have meant that owners of
similarly priced properties can pay
signifi cantly disparate amounts in
taxes, and that cities have to compete
with other local jurisdictions, such as
counties and fi re protection districts,
for key funding.
Even if residents of a city support
measures to pay for local libraries
or to build a new police station, for
example, the total tax rate per $1,000
of assessed valuation can’t exceed
the state limits.
The proposal could also lead to
greater increases in assessments.
Assessed valuations — due to the
requirements of Measure 50 —
typically grow at a slower rate than
real market value. On the other hand,
when the real estate market dips, so
do real market values.
A senate resolution, Senate Joint
Resolution 3, proposes repealing
Measure 50 and replacing it with a
real market value-based system. That
resolution is scheduled for a public
hearing before the Senate Finance
and Revenue Committee Tuesday.
“We would support that in theory,”
said Wendy Johnson, an intergov-
ernmental relations associate for the
League of Oregon Cities, noting that
the details have not been ironed out.
That resolution is the fi rst place-
holder bill in what cities expect to
be a broader property tax reform
package, Johnson said.